Sharia Court in Malaysia Sentences Woman to Be Flogged For Drinking a Beer at a Nightclub

200px-Redstripe2A Sharia court in Malaysia has sentenced part-time model Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, to be flogged for drinking a beer at a nightclub. In Malaysia, only Muslims can be flogged for alcohol consumption and the government turns over the accused to the Sharia courts to mete out their own Islamic justice.

Shukarno pleaded guilty to drinking the beer at a nightclub in 2008.

While caning is usually reserved for men, this court felt that the woman needed six lashes with a rattan cane and a fine for consuming alcohol. We have, however, seen other cases of women sentenced to flogging as part of Islamic justice, here and here and here.

In Saudi Arabia, even having coffee with a women can result in flogging, here.

It never fails to amaze me how a nation like Malaysia can maintain such laws. First, the nation has a law that only criminalizes conduct of citizens of a single religion. I will not venture to guess how police knows that a woman is a Muslim (as opposed to a Christian who can drank openly) or why someone cannot simply claim to be a Christian. I assume that their identification has their religious faith. Second, the government makes religious courts an extension of its legal system with the ability to mete out corporal punishment.

For the story, click here.

10 thoughts on “Sharia Court in Malaysia Sentences Woman to Be Flogged For Drinking a Beer at a Nightclub

  1. Now I can ask this question. Who served her the beer? Are they immune from flogging? Who was she with? How did they know she was Muslim?

  2. “I will not venture to guess how police knows that a woman is a Muslim (as opposed to a Christian who can drank openly) or why someone cannot simply claim to be a Christian.”

    Because she is ethnically Malay (as opposed to a Malay citizen of Indian or Chinese ethnic), and ethnic Malay are considered Muslim by Malay law (AFAIK thats actually an provision in the Malay constitution…).

    So the question of common law courts or the sharia law courts is, in practise, based on ethnicity and not so much on the practised religion.

    “Second, the government makes religious courts an extension of its legal system with the ability to mete out corporal punishment.”

    Malay sharia courts are actually state courts using sharia law, not “private” religious courts.

    Sharia law is not “just” by any modern standard and different laws for different ethnicities gives me the creeps, but there should be some adherence to facts.

  3. Berliner,
    Thank you for the clarification, however, it only makes the whole thing even more horrifying. I look at any of the religion enforcing its’ teachings by law to be basically blasphemous of their own faith. By enforcing its’ own tenets of faith politically, a religion abrogates the right of its’ God or Gods to pass judgment on individual behavior and arrogates it to their functionaries. This is then blasphemy.

  4. Mike Spindell,
    “however, it only makes the whole thing even more horrifying”

    Of course. But I think one can not understand the “why” without putting it into the bigger “Malay vs Chinese power struggle”.

    Because in my limited understanding for at least a vocal minority of ethnic Malay the use of sharia law is more a thing that defines them vis-a-vis the ethnic Chinese.

    So your “blasphemy argument” might not be as powerful as it were in a purly theological context, because it is possible that the enforecement of religion is mainly a building block of ethnic identity and/or a tool in an inter-ethnic power struggle.

  5. Berliner,
    I yeild to your greater knowledge of the socio/political happenings int that part of the world,but I think in the larger context of Religious Fundamentalism my blasphemy thoughts have some validity.

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